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Metro school adds sensory path to help student wellness

Updated: September 03, 2019 06:54 PM

Children and teachers across Minnesota went back to school Tuesday as another school year gets underway. Each year brings new challenges and opportunities for students and teachers alike, but one metro school introduced a new feature to its halls and walls to help its students stay active throughout the day.

As part of its annual school renovations over the summer, Forest Hills Elementary School in Eden Prairie added a custom sensory path designed to help students get out of their seats and stay active during the school day.

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The path is "an aesthetic and functional upgrade designed to give students a 'brain break,'" the school said, serving as kind of an "instant recess" to help students in kindergarten through sixth-grade calm down and refocus at school.

The main path on the floor is for movement ending with a rainbow of colors leading you to a good intention, or goal to pursue.

"I picked to be kind every day," said 9-year-old, Kyla.

The wall has yoga poses and breathing techniques for students to follow, with a focus on mindfulness.


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"We put those in there to support mindfulness in our building. It's an extension of our classrooms. All teachers do some kind of breathing and movement with students already, so we really want mindfulness to be a part of our school culture," said Jane Brill, Forest Hills Elementary School social worker.

The school worked with the parent-teacher organization on the project. It cost roughly $8,000.

"They are so excited, the students are really excited. On open house night, we had a scavenger hunt of everything that is new and this was by far the most popular thing," said Forest Hills Elementary School Principal, Connie Hytjan.

Students will use it with their classes, in small groups or by themselves to give their brains a break, calm down and refocus.

"It's really helpful with kids helping stay focused, giving them time and tools to problem solve so they can manage their emotions, so they feel like they have some control in really hard situations," said Brill. 

Forest Hills is the first of six elementary schools in the district to incorporate a sensory path and mindful wall, the school said.

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